March 31, 2016

Are sales calls as dead as the dodo?

It’s so funny how we don’t talk any more.

Is the sales call as dated as gold lame shirts? It does depend of course on your current fashion sense as to how you respond to that question of course! The immortal words of Sir Cliff, “It’s so funny how we don’t talk anymore”, resonate now more than ever, but how should businesses overcome the increasingly difficult problem of talking with clients?

https://youtube.com/watch?v=C1wdAoSulm8

“I am soooooooo busy” or “I haven’t got time to take a sales call from my supplier” are the frequent utterances in response to a sales call. Is that because we still refer to them as sales calls? Why doesn’t business view them as opportunities to hear what is new in the market place, see them as a vital way to keep informed of developments in your industry?

The telephone on my desk is under utilised. I almost jump out of my skin when it rings. However, my email inbox is very full – mainly acting as an instant message service rather than a good way of communicating coherently and well following a constructive conversation with either a client or a supplier.

How often do we hear after a good meeting how “great it was to put a face to the name”, and how much more productive that meeting was for all concerned. It’s about a smile, a reassuring word or the value that is placed in the ‘effort’ to ‘make and take’ a phone call or spare time to listen and learn. How do businesses get to talk to their clients when nobody likes receiving business calls? How can meaningful relationships be built?

Voicemail should be BANNED!

In our office, we have 6 members of our client services team that have a combined experience of over 100 years of working in the direct marketing, print and direct mail industry. As suppliers we should be viewed as people to engage with and help, advise and ‘tap’ for experience. How can we get our clients to USE that experience? Help and advise in the direct marketing industry is hugely beneficial and can save you time and money if accessed properly.

As a client you are about to spend a lot of time, money and energy on your campaign. You are entrusting the future success of your campaign, business and possibly career with a supplier, that you may have never met, or held an involved conversation with. Perhaps we should all stop thinking of contact from our suppliers as sales calls and start to view them as opportunities.

the sales call is a vital learning tool for clients

Emails are a superb ways of transferring confirmation instructions and summarising conversations. They make excellent tools for conveying easy sell messages. Complex services, ideas and concepts however, are not easily communicated in the dry environment of a business email. When David Cameron and Barack Obama are holding international diplomatic talks, they don’t email each other. You never hear on the news that Mr Putin emailed Angela Merkel about the situation in Syria. They get on the phone and discuss things, or hold face to face talks to discuss the detail and then they write down the summary and sign up to the deal.

Take time to take a sales call. Take time to make a sales call. Pop the kettle on – It’s not just good to talk – it’s beneficial.

Written by Robin Sumner, Managing Director at Romax Marketing & Distribution.

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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March 23, 2016

Mail marketing is too expensive….

Mail marketing is too expensive….Stick to email and social media – it’s cheaper.

I completely understand being addicted to social media, tweeting ‘interesting’ facts or retweeting videos. Achieving Facebook ‘likes’ is ‘acid’ for marketing professionals desperate for their brand to go viral; that one opportunity to hit their 15 minutes of social media fame.

However, have your considered however, how much energy, cost and effort goes into this? More importantly how much income to you receive directly as a result of investing in this medium? Is it time to stop taking the same pill as everyone else and start investigating the alternatives?

Email response as a stand-alone marketing medium is increasingly producing a diminishing return. It has never received a great response rate, but as it is relatively cheap form of getting your message in front of clients it has been used profusely; it can definitely help in enforcing brands and making offers if not overused.

Enhance your brand – not damage it!

What damage is done to your brand and client relationship if you overuse email? In a hailstorm of constant emails (many of which are increasingly being filtered out by software such as ‘clutter’ Microsoft’s software that learns your email habits moving less important, often ignored or deleted emails from your in-box.) Your message is not being read, brand is being weakened and efforts wasted. Easily avoided and quickly deleted, your frequent emails start to frustrate the recipient with too much information for them to enjoy engaging with you.

How do you measure the return on your marketing spend?

If you take a genuine view of the time, cost and investment made in each of your channels to market, have you really got the mix correct? I am in no doubt, that all businesses must trial and research all types of medium to reach their market. Have a presence that ‘suits’ the need of the consumer so that choice is available to them. Social media and e-marketing is superb for helping to endorse your initial message/contact. It helps retain clients by keeping them informed once they are fully engaged with your brand.

Use of tangible, quality, marketing print, particularly direct mail that is delivered to the doorstep, makes your message standout so much more than email to gain and retain clients.

But it’s too expensive – I hear you cry

In 1993 the cost for second class postage for a letter was 19p per item.

In 2016 the cost of second class postage for a letter is 19p per item.*

“HOLD ON…do my eyes deceive me?…Let’s read that again….“

In 1993 the cost for second class postage for a letter was 19p per item.

In 2016 the cost of second class postage for a letter is 19p per item.*

OMG! You’re right – the cost of sending a marketing mailing through the post is 19p per item, that’s the same as in 1993!!

So having crunched some numbers, for under £1000 worth of postage I can send 5000 letters that will land in my client’s letter box telling them something positive that they can act on. Tangible printed communication receives a better response both emotionally and financially in terms of cost per acquisition, than email or social media marketing, as a standalone medium. After much research the Direct Marketing industry recognises that a well-planned campaign that incorporates a joined up strategy across e-media, involves Social media AND print and direct mail, far outperforms those without print.

Market Reach and Mailmen

Yes I know Royal Mail did the research – I’m cynical too – but read it through and apply it to your own marketing, then compare it with your own purchase decisions. You know that you respond better to quality print presented to you in a unique and personal setting, than through electronic marketing alone.

That is not to say that electronic communication is a poor relation, quite the contrary, using a thoughtful and sophisticated marketing plan to reach out across all media is the very best way to retain, and grow business. Printed Direct Mail playing a fundamental and surprisingly cost effective route to market.

What should be advocated?

Take stock – Stop and make a proper study into the tangible return on your marketing spend. It is no longer an excuse to say that “Half of my marketing works – I just don’t know which half” measure the responses properly and understand where leads and more importantly sales are being generated from against the money invested in that channel.

If your market is responding well to e-media only that’s great, however is that because you only use e-media? What improvements could happen if you tested a direct marketing campaign utilising print and e-media?

But I am bias…..I run a mailing house in London

Yes I am bias, and we offer much more than just mail marketing services. I simply want clients to benefit from their marketing campaigns that include direct mail the same way that we do. The same way that we benefit from using e-media. The same way we analyse data to get the best message to the appropriate consumer. We test each and every marketing route to see what works best for us. Then we help others to improve their response rate too. If that make us bias then so be it!

 

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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March 18, 2016

Getting Started with Social Media

As a business it is likely you do not have a marketing department “on tap” let alone a social media manager. So why go to the expense of using social media to promote your business and where do you start?

Let’s start with the why

  • Easy way to learn about your audience
  • Target Audience can easily be defined
  • Expand your audience and find new customers
  • Instant feedback from your customers
  • Improve market intelligence and get ahead of your competitors
  • Increase website traffic and therefore SEO ranking
  • Share content faster
  • Generate low cost leads
  • Create relationships
  • Increase brand awareness and become a “thought leader”

Just reading the list above would make any MD scream “why are we not active on social media – I haven’t posted anything since that funny cat video in 2013!”

However, a note of caution, if you believe that suddenly by becoming a social media expert that big corporations will be knocking on your door you had better re-think. At best you will raise your brand awareness, which is no bad thing, but it is unlikely that through social media posting alone you will land the “big contract”.
So you want to go social? The first thing to do is research – what social media channels will my target audience be active in? Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram? Whilst you can post to all these channels, and more, it is better to start off with a more targeted approach so you can focus on that.

From my own experience, Twitter and LinkedIn, have proven to be the best channels to target first, however, it does depend on what your business is and does.

Next is to think of your company or personal brand. What do you want to portray? What story do you have to tell? What tone do I want to establish? You can find more on this subject here from the team at Hubspot. Now ensure that you have set up the social channel correctly in regards to BIOS and banners. A useful tool for creating banners is gravit – this can give your channel that touch of professionalism.

So you are now all set. Ready to post? Now hold on what about content? What time is best to post? Is it OK to retweet? In truth, there are no hard and fast rules, however, one of the best sources of knowledge is this recent blog and don’t forget the importance of imagery! Several free stock photo sites are unsplash, picjumbo and my favourite placeit.

It is perfectly acceptable to use others content, however, that will only take you so far and it is important to contribute your own words. Writing a content calendar can help you visualize all your planned posts for the next weeks or months ahead. And on top of that, it will help you craft your posts in advance so that you always have something ready to share.

As for posting, two of the most popular tools are Buffer and Hootsuite. Personally, I prefer Buffer for its cleaner interface but both offer good platforms for free and for a relatively small charge can offer further benefits such as teams, deeper analytics and even content to share. Tweetdeck is also popular but interacts with Twitter only.

Happy sharing!

romax_logo_tag_blueRomax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2CDirect Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: hello@romax.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8293 8550

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